Environmental Impact Assessment

A good example of poor land management and negative impacts during construction The aim of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is to provide stakeholders with information about the likely environmental impacts of a project. In some cases the outcome of the EIA process may require a developer to alter or in extreme cases abandon the project. The experience of EIAs in other countries shows that although an EIA can result in delays and added costs, these can be out-weighed by the overall benefits achieved by improved public consultation and early identification and forestalling of likely problems in the implementation stage of the project. Public participation can be used by the developer to provide the public with accurate information about the project, and to allow for the identification of areas of concern or controversy. By considering and responding to the public (in particular people living in the area or interest groups with particular skills and knowledge) the developer will be able to improve the project. Modifying a project early in the process is usually easier and cheaper than trying to do it later. Responding properly to criticism and comments from the public can improve a developer’s image as well as make a project more cost-effective and less environmentally damaging.

The Physical Planning Act (the ACT) of 2002, provides the legislative framework for the integration of the EIA process into the planning system. Pursuant to Part IV (23) (1) of the Act, “unless the Authority otherwise determines, environmental impact assessment shall be required in respect of any application for development permission to which the Second Schedule applies”. (See appendix 1 - for list of projects in Schedule II). However, section (23) (2) also gives discretionary powers to the Physical Planning Division (the Authority) for any development where it is of the opinion that any significant environmental harm could result. The Technical Committee also serves as the review and decision-making committee for the EIA Process.

Click here to see EIA's submitted to the Physical Planning Division

Click here to view sample Terms of Reference (TOR)

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